Yesterday we went along to architect Ermo Godlfinger’s home in Hampstead. 2 Willow Road was designed and built in 1939 by Goldfinger for him and his family to live in, built in place of a row of derelict cottages which were demolished to offer up space to build Goldfinger’s brutalist design.
Ermo Goldfinger was born in Budapest and moved to Paris in 1921 where he studied design. He was strongly influenced by the publication of Le Corbusier’s Vers une architecture, and became a fervent admirer of Le Corbusier’s former mentor, Auguste Perret, an expert in designing reinforced concrete structures and an inspiration for Goldfinger when designing his own home. In the early 1930s Goldfinger met and married Ursula Blackwell, heiress to the Crosse & Blackwell fortune. The remainder of his career would be based in the UK. His designs were cutting edge, inspired by creating more space in answer to the housing shortages following the Second World War, he became renowned for sky rise buildings, his most famous being The Trellick Towers based in Westbourne Grove in London, now a grade II listed building, it is a 31 storey block of flats designed in the Brutalist style. Like 2 Willow Road, his designs have beautiful big windows and an open plan style of living.
2 Willow Road, is beautifully stylish inside, with a wall of windows and simple furniture with beautiful clean lines. The main living area is based on the first floor which you reach by venturing up a cleverly designed spiral staircase. The Goldfingers were renowned for throwing great parties and the cleverly designed home lent itself well to this with the ability to open it all out, but then each room could be made more private with the partition walls. The walls are adorned with an awe inspiring art collection including the likes of Duchamp and Henry Moore. Much of the 2nd floor is taken up by the nursery, which again can be one open plan space or could be cleverly split into 3 rooms, one for their daughter and one for their son, and one for their nanny which was in the middle of the two. Although built in the late 30s, it is very much in style again today, and we drew huge amounts of inspiration from it, I particularly loved the cleverly thought out books shelves, simple but so stylish and functional. There are strong splashes of blocks of colour but carefully placed so not to detract from what is a tranquil feeling space, where Goldfinger brought the outside in.
Be sure to pay it a visit it’s now part of The National Trust and in lovely Hampstead, 2 Willow Road